''Renova has publicly entered the Republic — the discussion is underway at the highest level''
The homeland of Türkmenbaşy has surrendered Kazan not from the first time
On 14 December, Turkmenistan Airlines launched regular passenger flights to Ashgabat from the Kazan airport. At the same time, as Realnoe Vremya found out, the strategic direction for Kazan airport is China. The flight to Riga operated by Air Baltic is planned for April. Among the promising destinations — Israel, perhaps the European cities.
One who expects from a promise a lot must wait for five years
Alexey Sidorov, acting Deputy Minister of Transport and Road Economy of Tatarstan, started with statement of the fact: ''Strengthening of foreign economic relations is one of the main trends in Tatarstan: the president of the Republic has travelled the world, the business relations are strengthening, a number of partners of our businesses are increasing, as well as tourism ties".
According to him, the idea to open direct flights Kazan-Ashgabat is not new, it has been elaborated for five years, but due to certain economic conditions, the flight launch was postponed.
''After a regular visit of our delegation to Ashgabat, we have reached an agreement on the opening of flight in the winter of 2016,'' explained the official at a press-conference in Tatar-inform. ''No doubt, the opening of direct communication is one of the incentives for development of business ties; if there is a direct connection, people actively communicate with each other, and there is a synergistic effect in other sectors of the economy.''
The Sidorov's words were confirmed by Veronika Aktasheva, strategic development director at the Kazan international airport, saying that this route has being elaborated for a long time. ''We planned to open this line in the period 2015-2017, but it happened in the middle,'' she said. This flight gives, like all other flights, a very positive effect to the region: aircraft activity in the region is increasing, there are new opportunities for tourism and the business community, notes Aktasheva.
Third capital is the third
Andrey Chistyakov, Deputy Director General of ITM Group and General Sales Agent for Turkmenistan Airlines told about Turkmenistan Airlines and the new airport that will serve this flight. According to him, Turkmenistan Airlines is a state airline, for which flights to Russia is a big event: before the flights were only to Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Moreover, the airline is developing, as well as the airport. The opening of the new airport took place in Ashgabat on September 15, continued Chistyakov.
Judging by a video shown to the audience, the airport can be compared by the beauty to Singapore one: ''This airport is among the ten most beautiful airports in the world and in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest glowing ornament,'' enthusiastically told the agent. Externally, the airport is reminiscent of a falcon, which is the national symbol; the airport is named in honor of the hero of the epic of Oghuz Khagan, told Chistyakov.
Chistyakov also cited the practical advantages of the airport.
''The airport has been entirely built, it is all new, very high-tech, the builders tried to take into account all the technical innovations that exist: self-registration desks, scanners for passports; it is quite expensive project for the country,'' he acknowledged, ''the construction of the airport with all the buildings, landing strips and hangars cost approximately $2 billion.''
Almost Singapore, but…
The entire fleet of the airline — new Boeing 737-800 aircrafts; connection in Ashgabat is also very convenient if, for example, the waiting is more than three or four hours, passengers can enjoy the beautiful hotel where they can relax for a few hours. If to speak about medium-term prospects of the airline development, then it is the expansion of the destinations network from Kazan.
Chistyakov also said about the development business and student ties due to this flight.
As for the tourist flow, it is important to note that it will be not only from the Republic, but also in the directions where the airline flies: ''China, Iran – new destinations have opened (Asian and European, South-East will be opened soon),'' said Chistyakov. ''But it is also the incoming tourism: quite actively now the tourist markets of China are developing, especially Iran, Tatarstan will not only send its tourists but it will also receive quite large number of tourists.''
Toyli Shamammedov, acting representative of the airline in Russia, said that, despite the fact that now there are only two flights a week (on Mondays and Wednesdays), then flights will be more.
The Baltic States, Israel and China
Aktasheva also told about the plans for next year: ''Next year in the short term we are planning to develop cooperation with UVT Aero on the regional development of the Russian network. And when it will get access to the international flights (we expect that maybe this year).''
According to her, is also planned collaboration and an opening of international destinations.
''Next year we plan to open flight to Riga operated by Air Baltic; the opening is planned for April. For the next year and for the next 3-5 years we have a lot of new countries in the future to open; I hope that this strategy will be implemented at the maximum extent: China, Israel, perhaps, European cities,'' told the representative of the Kazan International Airport.
On final figures of the year, Aktasheva noted that the airport Kazan in contrast to the majority of Russian airports is to close the year with a ''plus'' sign, growth of 5%. ''We are planning not only to increase a number of flights to our existing destinations, but also to open new Russian cities.''
Look who has come
''This year we have a number of airlines, if you remember, we have had the opening of the flight to the Czech Republic this year, to Frankfurt – it is the new line of Aeroflot, every month we have a new direction opened. Then in August we opened the charter flight Ürümqi — a brand new airline, a new partner of TianJin Airlines, with whom, we hope, we will continue to cooperate in peak seasons. This year we also have a number of Russian new destinations, mostly it is Gorno-Altaysk by UVT.''
They are also actively working on the Chinese direction: ''We are carrying out the work and we have already moved into action. Of course, the destination is one of the most difficult for our airport because it is fairly new and distant foreign region, and so we had only the charter and we received the tourists from August to October this year. There were two flights a week, about 100-120 people came, they were in Russia during the week. Their program included a stay in Kazan, Moscow and St Petersburg, but the point of entry and exit from Russia was Kazan.''
The Kazan International Airport haven't had a chance to send our tourists due to aviation constraints but they are working in this direction. ''So to say, it is a gradual process, i.e., we started with Chinese tourists and we hope that these flights will be continued next summer and we are now working very closely with the Russian airlines to open flight to China that will give our visitors an opportunity to travel to this country,'' said Veronika Aktasheva.
''The airport is putting emphasis not on the territorial expansion''
As for the search of investors for the airport and the interest shown on the part of Renova, the representative of the Kazan International Airport stated that the air gates of Kazan have always been interesting to investors.
In November, the Airports of Regions holding declared that it retains the interest in the Russian airports with passenger traffic of over one million people. Director General of the Airports of Regions holding Evgeny Chudnovsky said: ''To those airports, with a passenger flow of more than one million, the interest remains, but they are almost gone. Ufa, Kazan, Irkutsk left — we are interested in them in general, but the question is that the subjects should express some interest and understanding of what they want from a private owner.''
''Renova and other airport holding companies have always been interested in us as we have always successfully developed, and we hope that this trend will continue. Of course, they are interested in the head of the list. Besides, we have the very best rates for the development lines, we are also an economic enterprise, stable and efficient. Undoubtedly, the holding would like to receive our airport. Renova has entered the Republic publicly, as far as I know, this discussion is underway at a higher level, not at the level of the airport. Now the emphasis of development is placed not on territorial expansion, but on the technical improvement of the facilities.''